Angels ship Tommy La Stella to A’s for Franklin Barreto

ANAHEIM — The Angels shipped Tommy La Stella to the the Oakland A’s on Friday night. It is the first of what could be a few deals as they move to rebuild from this disappointing season.

Although the clubs did not announce the deal until about 90 minutes later, La Stella went down the line in the Angels’ dugout during during Friday’s game hugging his teammates.

La Stella, who is set to be a free agent at the end of the season, was sent to the A’s in exchange for Franklin Barreto, a middle infielder who so far hasn’t lived up to his potential in Oakland.

Barreto, 24, has a career .180 average, a .210 on-base percentage and a .570 OPS in parts of four seasons with the A’s. Barreto was a highly touted prospect when the A’s got him from the Toronto Blue Jays as part of the Josh Donaldson trade.

Barreto was considered a five-tool prospect, but lack of strike-zone discipline prevented him from reaching his offensive potential. Barreto had a career .834 OPS in the minors.

“Perhaps a little bit of irregular playing time contributed to that,” Angels general manager Billy Eppler said. “It can be difficult for really young players to sit on the bench, but they have to find a way to persevere through that. We would like to trade a little of the power for a little more contact. Sometimes players can have just enough power to get themselves in trouble, especially when they are young.”

Barreto, who is out of options, presumably goes into the mix as middle infield depth, behind Andrelton Simmons and David Fletcher, and along with Luis Rengifo.

“I like the fact that he can play a lot of different positions, second, shortstop, third and he’s even run into the outfield in his Triple-A days,” Eppler said. “That’s an advantage for our roster, not only now but moving forward as we look to 2021.”

Eppler said the possibility of losing both La Stella and Andrelton Simmons, another free agent, impacted their decision to want middle infield depth.

La Stella leaves the Angels after the most successful stretch of his career.

Finally given the chance at everyday playing time, La Stella hit .289 with an .836 OPS with the Angels, including an All-Star selection in 2019. La Stella was unable to play in the game because he broke his leg just after being selected.

La Stella’s impending free agency made him a likely candidate to be traded.

The Angels also could consider offers for Simmons and Jason Castro, who are also on expiring contracts.